Outlook 2010: How to Send Someone a Contact Group (Distribution List)

Posted July 15, 2010 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Outlook

If you have a large number of contacts, you have probably created your share of distribution lists for simplifying your email creation. If you want to get a copy of your list to a friend or co-worker, Outlook 2010 makes it easy.

1. Create a new email message.

2. Address the new message to the desired recipient.

3. Go to the Ribbon.

4. On the Message tab, locate the Include section.

5. Click Attach Item and select Outlook Item.

6. From the Look in section, select Contacts from the list of Outlook items.

7. From the Items section, select the desired Contact Group (Distribution List).

8. Click the OK button.

9. Add a subject and body to your message and click the Send button.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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  • fine jewelry

    Thanks for this informative post. rental properties

  • Shruti_bhola

    I used the below steps however the recipient is able to open the distribution listed but able to use it

  • Rmcmahon

    How can you take a contact group that you have been sent and save it to be able to use it?

    • Moto39567

      you just drag the attachment from your e-mail over to your Contacts icon in the side panel

      • Cebinks

        I can’t locate the Contacts icon you are referring to. Can you be more specific? thanks

        • Inez

          > Here are the steps I use to save a Contact group that has been emailed to me. I use Outlook 2010.
          1. Open the Contact list from the email.
          2. Select File
          3. In the box on the right, click the pull down menu next to “Move to Folder”.
          4. Select “Copy to Folder”.
          5. Choose the Contacts folder.
          6. Go to your contacts and make sure it was saved.

          • Jeff Love

            Great Help!! Thanks for the step by step.>

          • Kathy

            > Will this work I you have Outlook 2010 and the person you are sending it to has Outlook 2013?

      • kb

        You’re amazing and THANKS so much! I spent far too much time wrestling with it before I saw your fix!>

      • J D

        > @Moto39567 – Thank you!!!!! I have been struggling for ages trying to find out how to save and use a group contact which has been sent to me! Cheers!!!

      • Tracey

        > Thank you! so easy with your instruction.

    • sierra

      > this helped SO much!! Thank you for posting that!! 🙂 I was so excited when it actually worked!

  • Carmel

    Thanks, that worked a treat. There really should be something in the on-line help in Outlook indicating it is so easy.

  • Is anyone else getting the issue where the recipient gets the contact list as a .msg file with smaller file size than the sent attachment, and it has no content?

    • Nathan Hays

      > Yes, that is exactly the issue that I’m having. Any fix for this at all?

    • Nathan Hays

      > This appears to be a universal bug that exists ONLY when using Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010 and attempting to forward a “Contact Group” to an external source. All other test environments I have tried this on (ex. Exchange 2007, Outlook 2010) cannot recreate this problem. As a temporary work around:
      * you can save the file locally (Open the Contact Group, then File>Save As>Save);
      * then send the distribution list to a saved file (Right-Click the saved file, then Sent To>Compressed (zipped) folder);
      * then attach the zipped file created in the previous step (drag and drop it into an untitled message.

      On the receiving end, the user will be then able to simply open the attachment, open the message file that pops back up, and then select “Save & Close” to add it to their local contacts.

      • Marie

        > Thanks, I was able to send the Outlook group to another user. The recipient could open it and save it, but it does not appear in the Outlook contact list. It just shows up in the Outlook files directory. What am I doing wrong?

      • Negar

        > That was great, thank you 🙂 Just to add a quick comment, I had to click file > move to folder > copy to folder > select my desired folder to save the received contact group. Cheers, Negar

  • Ssahagun

    How do I save the contact group once I receive it in teh email??

  • Michelle

    Rmcmahon , thank you so much for that tidbit! It was so simple! …and I just wasted 20 minutes reading through all the stupid help topics in Outlook. You’d think they would have that as one of the basic help instructions for using contract groups. Go figure. You’re a lifesaver!

  • I got the same issue as Ben Bennett. The attachment became a .msg and contains nothing. Did i do something wrong?

  • I have a large contact group. How do I copy a group and rename it so I can edit the renamed group without having to totally recreate it.

  • Georgia

    I have been trying to send a contract group outlook card to someone outside of my office with NO success–it sends hte vcard as a .msg and there is nothing there when they try to open the card. I have sent individual vcards to the same people and they had NO problem. Can you help me resolve this issue so I can send these individuals a contact group card that when opened it actually shows all the contacts? Please get back to me to let me know what I can do to make this work. Many thanks.

  • Matt

    Answer to Amelia’s question: Just send the group to yourself and then drag the attachment to your Contacts folder. You will have 2 identical Groups. Remane one of them and you will have a copy of the original group with a different name and you may begin editing the second group.

  • Linda

    I found out how to send a group contact to another email address, but the person says it came over in “read only” and can’t do anything with it.

    • Mike

      > Open the email with the forwarded group in a separate window and drag the file (group card) directly into your contacts. I just had this problem and this resolved it. It allowed me to save and edit the file as well as send a group email to the group.

  • JT

    @Moto39567 Thank you so much for the hint! If it had been a snake…. Seriously, something as intuitive as that, you would think a few people with advanced degrees could have thought of that on our own!

  • Dodie Melvin

    Thank you — why have “they” made 2010 Microsoft Office so complicated — I hate it!

  • Mary

    After I share a group contact with one or more persons, does each recipient then have to make their own updates to the group when there are changes or, as the originator, do my edits automatically update the group contact for everyone?

  • andrea

    Once the contact list is sent, how does the recipient add/save the contact list to their contacts??
    I can’t seem to find how to save the group I received in my contacts and when I select save, where does it save the group????


  • Annette

    My program did not outlook data file and when I clicked on contacts nothing appeared in my items lists. Instructions on the web almost never help me in my situations.

  • Eric Dew

    Thank-you Rob! Thank-you for this information. Eric

  • Wena

    how do you forward a group contact list i have been trying but when i open up the list there are no contacts in it its blank.

  • DJ

    Could you tell me where “The Ribbon” is?